The Style Conversational
The Style Conversational
Loser-friendly discussion with The Empress of The Style Invitational

Week 914: It’s horse-names time, and the results of the Week 910 ad slogans

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the contest that seemingly everyone likes to do (if not necessarily read). For Week 914 we once again we saddle you with what, back in the days of longer print headline orders, used to be called “What Kind of Foal Am I” and this year is named “Foaling Around.” We’ve been doing this contest every year since Week 113 in 1995, when it was suggested by Still a Loser (and serious horse player) Mike Hammer of Arlington. We used to run the entire list of horses eligible for the year’s Triple Crown races, and let you send as many entries as you like. But after your beleaguered Empress was just overwhelmed with far too many good entries to run -- not to mention far, far, far too many entries to judge -- we cut the field of horse names to 100, and eventually the number of entries to 25 per person. Still, last year I estimated that I ended up with something like 300 worthy entries; I ended up running 36 in the paper, plus another 40-some in the Web-only supplement

I thought that this, our first year in the cozy-size new Sunday Style section, would be the first time we couldn’t run the list of horses in the print paper. But the ‘Vite’s Friends in High Places -- namely, Sunstyle honcho Lynn Medford -- finagled extra space for the list. (Sorry, Mister Photo Next to the CD Review!)

As usual, some of the more passionate horse namers will bristle at the 25-entry limit. For one thing, it requires some guessing about which entries OTHER people will enter -- if more than two or three people send the same entry, it’s out -- and which are printable. Fortunately, you don’t lose out on much pelf by not winning, although the second-place Loser will get one a dollar-store “melon pealer”with fabulously garbled text on the packaging. Bruce Alter showed up with it at this past Sunday’s Loser brunch and I figured that I didn’t want it around any longer than necessary. (I didn’t even use it to cut up my French toast.

Speaking of the Loser brunch: The special-edition event at Cafe Deluxe -- featuring a visit by Across-the-Pond Loser Ann Martin and her husband, Eddie -- drew an only slightly unwieldy gathering of 19 only slightly unwieldy Losers and Loser Auxiliaries last Sunday morning. See actual photographic evidence.

The real treat, though, was afterward, when Ann led most of us across Wisconsin Avenue and up into the main bell tower of Washington National Cathedral, where she’s been on the team of “change ringers” ever since she was a student at the National Cathedral School more than 40 years ago. The enormous bells themselves -- set upside down -- are above the ceiling where the ringers stand in a circle and pull their ropes in a mathematical series of variations. Here’s a little video clip-- Ann is at left, wearing a cardigan. An most unusual way of making music, but great exercise for the shoulders.

The next brunch is scheduled for May 20, location TBA, given that the Flushies banquet has been postponed from May to September.

Wow, that was a fun contest. Perhaps not as cerebral as some we’ve done, but the gut is also a bodily organ that deserves its due. I got lots and lots of plays on well-known corporate slogans, many more than usual from First Offenders and irregular entrants (as there will surely be this week as well). Some of them were even printable.

As with the horse names, sometimes the set of variations on a particular slogan is more fun than any particular entry.

For example, from my notes, here are some playing off the slogan for Bounty paper towels (here and below, I’d compiled them when judging blindly, and sorry, I’m not going back and looking up all the names -- feel free to claim ownership in the comments field below):
Levitra: “The quicker pecker upper.” (3 people)
Levitra: “The wick picker-upper.”
Viagra: “The quicker pricker-upper.” (3 people)
Toothpick company: “The quicker uppers-picker.”
Park-and-ride dropoff:”The quicker pucker-upper.”
Charlie Sheen: “The quicker, sicker picker upper.”
Given the necessary taste considerations, the first three weren’t in the running. The ink ended up going to the most offbeat of the bunch, Edmund Conti’s toothpick variation.

Here are a few for Invite Fodder of the Month Charlie Sheen:
Charlie Sheen: “Sometimes you feel like a nut. Other times you may also.” (Jeff Contompasis gets the ink.)
Charlie Sheen: Things go batty with coke.
When Charlie Sheen talks, for some reason people listen.
Charlie Sheen: “99 and 44/100% boor.”
Charlie Sheen: “Trouble’s your pleasure, trouble’s your fun.”

From the United Negro College Fund motto:
“A waist is a terrible thing to mind” - Spanx, Jennie Craig, whatever...
A Waist Is A Terrible Thing To Mind - McDonald’s
Swanson Hungry Man Dinners: “A waist is a terrible thing to mind”
A mime is a terrible thing to waste - Blue Man Group
West Virginia Coal Association: “A mine is a terrible thing to waste”
PETA: “A hind is a terrible thing to taste.”
A rind is a terrible thing to waste. Bosmere compost bins (and the ink goes to Dave Komornik for this one.)
When I was writing headlines for the Style Section in my previous incarnation as a copy editor, I played off this slogan myself: In a 1990s Labor Day package featuring Bad Jobs, I used “Waste Is a Terrible Thing to Mind,” for a story about a man whose job was siphoning out porta-potties. (For the one about the guy who had to monitor drug-detection urine tests, I did, “Looking Out for Number 1.”)

And though lots of Losers played on the Brylcreem slogan “A little dab’ll do ya,” I ended up using none of them:
Hooters - A little flab’ll screw ya
National Association of Anorexia Clinics (and many variations): “A little flab’ll do ya.”
NSA: “A little gab’ll screw ya.”
A pet cemetery, mortician: A little slab’ll do ya.
Parents Without Partners: A little dad’ll do ya.
Caesar’s Roman Senate: “A little stab’ll do ya”
Resigned State Dept. spokesman P.J. Crowley: “A little blab’ll do ya in.”
Medical &Acupuncture Clinic of Washington DC: “A little jab’ll do ya.”
for a speech therapist: A little gab’ll do ya.
A little drab’ll do ya -- Hasidic Clothing Company of NY
A little dribble, do ya? -- Toviaz (Bladder control medication)

Several people did something about mushroom aficionados having a “Breakfast of Champignons,” but one well-known Loser was extra-cryptic, offering “A breakfast of champion --- Mushroom omelets.”

It’s the first Inker -- and the first ink! -- for Rachel Braun of Silver Spring, who’ll be able to hang her FirStink around the neck of the Otherwise Naked Man (it’ll cover most of his body) for her TSA joke, one of many homages to (a.k.a. mockeries of) The Washington Post’s old slogan. Roy Ashley grabs his 29th “above-the-fold” ink (and Ink 256 in general) for his play on the Pabst slogan -- others had suggested Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for the same slogan, but he really made Madison famous. Another regular, Barbara Turner, gets Ink No. 68 and her 12th above the fold in a play off a slogan used in several places, while relative newbie Trevor Kerr of the Virginia Tidewater area pulled off the best use of the FedEx slogan -- it’s Trevor’s 11th ink, and his first mug or shirt.


There were a LOT of unprintable slogans this week, so many that I think that my own compass veered off the mark — I actually tried to get these three entries into the paper, before they were stopped (wisely, I’m sure) by the taste police of the “multiplatform desk” (formerly the copy desk):
Viagra: We bring your thing to life. (Judy Blanchard)
Convent of the Sacred Heart: A hymen is forever.(Rick Haynes)
A proctologist: Let my finger do the work-in. (John O’Byrne)

But there were also a number of entries that I immediately marked “Conversational”:
KY Jelly: If you don’t wet it, you don’t get it. (Kathleen DeBold and Barbara Johnson)
NAMBLA: We do chickens right. (Jim Exnicios)
NAMBLA: Tricks are for kids. (Mark Richardson)
Metamucil: Ploppin’ fresh. (Roy Ashley)
Fiber One cereal: Snap, Crackle, Poop. (Rick Haynes)
And -- from two separate Losers who shall go unidentified except for the code names “Art Grinath” and “Jeff Brechlin” --PGA: Put a Tiger in your skank.


As a journalistic public service to ensure that important news developments reach you within nanoseconds, I’ve put together an e-mail list of about 200 Losers plus assorted real people, and my plan is to send out a note every Friday, as soon as the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, since the publishing times have varied so much of late. If you’re on the list, you should have gotten an introductory e-mail Thursday night or Friday morning, asking if you’d like to opt out of receiving the weekly e-mails. (The e-mails will be coming from my personal Gmail account, because it’s much easier to use than the non-Web-based Post e-mail.)

If you’re not one of the three or four people who opted out, you’ll get an announcement along with links to the week’s new Style Invitational and Style Conversational columns. If you want me to add you to the list, drop me a line at myerspat [ at ] gmail {dot} com -- or, for slower service, just mention it along with your next entry. If you want me to drop you from the list, let me know.

That’s just one of the many terrific parodies from “Seder Songs,” a huge songbook by our own Loser master parodist Barbara Sarshik. If you’re looking for a fun but not irreverent addition to your Passover rite this month, you can download the whole collection free at The songs parodied range from old show tunes to Disney numbers to the Beatles (”Hey Jews”) and now a few modern country songs as well. There are a lot of parodies out there, and most are as weak as gefilte-fish aspic; use Barbara’s.

But one of the venerable classics of the genre -- the traditional Seder story of the Four Sons, set to “Clementine”-- was composed by one Ben Aronin in the 1950s. And it happens that a much younger Ben Aronin -- and yes, they’re related -- is a 37-time Style Invitational Loser.

The Post Hunt -- the absurdly complicated and challenging mass treasure hunt sponsored by The Washington Post and once again organized by the diabolical trio of Gene Weingarten, Dave Barry and Tom Shroder, is set for: Sunday, June 5. This link has been set up for the details as they’re announced. I’ve never been down there myself, though I might help out this year. Many Losers participate, however, often forming teams.

Meanwhile, get to work on the horses. You’ll have plenty to work with.


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